“I know what happens when I do it my way”

I sometimes do one-on-one calls. With permission, this is an extract of a conversation I had with R. We chatted for about 25 minutes.

me: In early sobriety, it’s like you’re a table with three legs instead of four legs. And when you’re a table with three legs, it doesn’t take much to push you over.

R: I hadn’t heard that before.

me: If you’re a table with three legs, it doesn’t take much pressure in the wrong place to make it fall over. It also (maybe) doesn’t take much to stabilize it. You could put a stack of books under one corner and that would stabilize your table. (You could use books or whatever, something to prop you up, supports – things to support your table. Meetings. Penpals. Podcasts. Blogs.)

But if you try to put too much pressure on your three-legged table by going to a bar to meet your friends on week one, and you want to ‘test’ yourself and ‘tempt’ yourself, that’s like putting pressure from the top on the top of the table instead of support from the bottom.

R: Realizing that I’m hearing wolfie and not me might make it easier to just persevere and realize that someone else in the world is going through this right now and it’s not just me. And it’ll pass.

me: I think in AA they call it surrender. Which, to me, means: “I’ve done it my way, my way doesn’t work, somebody else is successful at this, I’m just going to give up my shit for a little while and see what happens if I do it somebody else’s way. Because I’ve done it my way. I know what happens when I do it my way. And I can’t get the result that I want if I keep doing it my way, because my way hasn’t worked.” …

R: I’m going to stick with it, Belle. I’m sorry I keep having so many day 1s. Do people go on like this for awhile, or what? Am I the worst?

me: Once you start to accumulate the right supports (and enough of them), then you support that table. I don’t want to say it’s ‘magic’ but it’s pretty ‘magical’. Because then you’ll be like “oh shit, all this support? All I had to do was pull it all in, and use it.” You can do that.

R: I reckon I can. I think I’ve got to force myself and then realize that it’s – because there’s that part of me – the toddler in the supermarket that you talk about – and actually it’s like I’ve got to ignore that part and get on with it, even if I think it’s not what I want. Because I know it actually is what I want.

me: And wolfie will say anything, including: “you’re broken and can’t be fixed.” So if you hear that, you know it’s not you. If you hear “just drink today and start again tomorrow,” that’s not you. There are pretty standard, typical things that people tell me and that I’ve heard myself. Including things like “other people signed up for Team 100 and were successful the first time so I might as well give up” or ”other people have much lower bottoms than I have so means I can drink for a lot longer before I really need to quit.” All of that … is not you. That’s all a rationalization and justification to continue drinking.

R: I’m going to do it.

[she’s on day 19 today, after a *few* day 1s…].



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I sure needed to read this today. After 13 days, this is now my day 1 again. I am super bummed, but reading the posts helps me to know I’m not alone. I, too, haven’t told anyone. Might need to change that and get more support. Thanks, Belle, and everyone for being a part of this forum.

  • Dear ocean view, hope you feel better today! Noting like a good night sleep and waking up without a foggy head and a fuzzy mouth to make a great start to the weekend.

  • Wonderful to read all these comments. Progress does have all kinds of guises…in each of my ‘failure’ day 1s I can see now I was learning something – til I was finally sick of it to the point where, as I wrote to Belle, it was just time to get the fuck out of Day 1. Three odd weeks later, not being hungover each day (especially on weekends) is still my favourite thing. And this blog and being part of it and Belle’s world-wide hug is just amazing. Strength and happiness to you all xo

  • It’s Friday and worked late. Kids with friends . Husband napping . Came home to messy house. Made new appetizer and put in fridge to chill. Poured cranberry and tonic. Feeling a little down and lonely. Checking in with all of you and it helps. Sober can be quiet and boring some days but soo much better than day 1! Should be cleaning or exercising right now. Don’t want to. Maybe read or watch movie and go to bed early. Tomorrow will be better. Especially without hangover. Keep going out there! Thinking good thoughts for all of you. Xo Denise

  • Dear R – if this helps I also had a whole bunch of months with Day 1’s in the 100 day challenge too. I was sure all the other people were doing it more ‘successfully’, and felt embarrassed and frustrated by my lack of ‘progress’. Eventually I found a way out of the cycle by listening to me, not Wolfie. Turns out I was making progress, and was just letting go a bit slower than I wanted to. I’m now at 7.5 months. So just keep going and going. I’m rooting for you and everyone else just starting out. You can do it!!! Big hugs! Hana

  • awesome stuff here today…..I am just amazed at the things I read on here, and how I can so relate to them. That these feeling I have of Wolfie and being depressed are normal, and yeah, this too shall pass. Plus, I just got my FU Wolfie bracelet and am definitely getting some kick ass vibes from it 🙂
    hugs to everyone out there reading and trying and doing it……

  • I hated the pain of Day 1’s…and Day 2’s and Day 3’s.

    “You never have to have another Day 1 again,” Belle told me.

    “Sunshine won’t be rocketing out of your ass just because you’re sober,” Belle told me.

    “You’ll find a sober passion” Belle assured me.

    I believe Belle is telling me the truth and things will get better. I hope they will because I am so freaking depressed. Besides, things really can’t get worse than Day 1.

  • Perfect post for me today. Day 1 again after I had 33 or 34 days then a slip up. Dang that Wolfie is sneaky and cunning! I was feeling kind of squirrely for a few days, but thought I could handle it on my own and didn’t say anything to anyone here or to my husband (who personally does not know Wolfie’s voice). Clearly in the beginning, that’s not the best choice, so my slip was actually a valuable lesson.

    So, sober on . . . life is so much more enjoyable. Thanks, Belle, for being an amazing facilitator for those of us here wanting to break-up with Wolfie.

  • From R: “Happy to be a part of your amazing sphere, Belle. The 3 legged table is one of the best metaphors I’ve ever known. I’m not counting days (which weirdly is helping me) and often forget to email sober status – but I LOVE feeling my mind, my brain, awakening, a tendril at a time. It’s magical. Thanks again so much for your very significant part in this. Xxxooo”

    and then seconds later she sent this:

    R: “OK – just read the blog and feel really honoured to be included in one of your posts. Thank you for that conversation. And the ‘magical’ I referred to in my email a few minutes ago? That was before I read the blog post. Affinity much? Where I’m meant to be much? Thanks for being on the planet the same time as me Belle – and for doing what you do!”

  • Yay for you R! I know just how you feel and felt. I am 30 days today and this was my 4th “day 1 try”! The support & advice you get from Belle and the other challenge people is amazing.